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Sawing a log.
Saw a small log in half

Did you know?

  • Weta are at risk of being eaten by introduced predators like rats, stoats, cats and hedgehogs.
  • Big heavy animals can squash weta.
  • Weta adapt well to living in a modified habitat.
  • Female weta lay 100-300 eggs so if you build a home they like and weta live there, their numbers will grow!

How do weta motels work?

Chisel out a cavity for the weta gallery.
Chisel out the weta gallery

Weta live in holes but there really aren’t that many holes in trees. That’s why weta dig under stones or chew through rotten logs to make their homes.

Weta motels are no-fuss homes for weta. They find one, crawl in and relax. You can place a weta motel in a tree, under a tree and even on a fence post.

Build a 3 star weta motel

A 3 star weta motel is simple and fun to make. Experiment! Weta don’t care if it’s a crooked little house!

Drill a hole for the entrance hole.
Drill a hole for the entrance tunnel

  • Start with a small log and saw it in half.
  • Chisel out the weta gallery and drill an entrance tunnel.
  • Nail or bind the two halves together and nail on a roof.
  • Hang or tie the motel in a tree in a shady spot at about eye level.

Build a 5 star weta motel

Try making this 5 star weta motel. Using this plan, you can create a 10 unit 'motel'  in your garden for weta.

5 star weta motel design (PDF, 232K)

It’s great but takes longer to make than the 3 star model.

It has been designed by Victoria University of Wellington entomologist Professor George Gibbs, who has given permission for the Department of Conservation to distribute it.

Handy hints for making weta motels

  • Weta like motels that are made from willow and aged pine (rather than fresh pine).
  • Entrance tunnel holes should be 18 mm or slightly less in size to stop mice (10 mm is too small), and quite long and sloping down from the top or the side. 
  • A 3 star weta motel.
    A completed 3 star weta motel

  • Weta don’t like vertical tunnels heading up from the bottom. 
  • Weta like to enlarge their rooms or galleries and they like deep galleries and wood that isn’t rotting.
  • Weta prefer motels without windows but they will live in motels with windows as long as their gallery is deep. 
  • The windows should be made from perspex or plastic from a bottle with shutters that can be closed. They should be removable for cleaning because they go mouldy.
  • Weta will live in motels with more than one gallery but you’ll probably get more weta if you have more single room motels.
  • In the forest weta move in within three months and after a year they have about four weta in each motel.
  • Weta like motels and backyards that don’t have rats!

Watch step by step instructions on how to make a weta motel:

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